Monday, April 30, 2007

Cajun Red Beans and Rice

Hearty and spicy with so little effort. I couldn't get my hands on for-sure GF Italian sausage, so I used Hillshire Farm's Polska Kielbasa sausage and loaded this up with black pepper. Don't half it and you'll have enough leftovers for several lunches (tortilla bean wrap, anyone?) I loved this over white rice, but brown would probably work well, too.
From Pillsbury's Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook.

Serves 4
30 minutes
-large large saucepan with deep sides, or pot
-large pot for rice

Bean Sauce
1/2 of a package Hillshire Farms Sausage (Smoked or Polska Kielbasa)
1 large white onion
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium yellow bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 (15.5 oz) cans of red beans*
1 (8 0z) can tomato sauce*
1-2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried (or minced fresh) oregano leaves

1 cup uncooked white or brown rice
*Bush's red beans are GF; Hunt's tomato sauce is GF

1. Rinse off sausage then cut into 1/2 inch slices; half each slice. Place into large large saucepan.
2. Chop onion into coarse pieces and add to the sausage. Let the sausage/onion mixture sit for a couple minutes while you cut the rest of the veggies.
3. Wash and core the bell peppers. Coarsely slice, then cut up each pepper. Also rinse off and mince the garlic. Set veggies aside near range.
4. Add 1 cup rice to another pot and begin cooking as directed. This should all come out at once.
5. Begin cooking sausage and onions over medium heat. Add in 1 tbsp. of black pepper. Cook until sausage is heated through and onions are just translucent, around 5 minutes.

6. To the sausage/onion mixture, pour in the beans, tomato sauce and rest of veggies (green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, garlic). Season with thyme and oregano.
7. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue cooking beans/veggies/sausage uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want some liquid left in the saucepan, so don't let the beans simmer too rapidly. Add a little water as needed.
8. When rice is ready, sample the beans again. Sprinkle saucepan with more black pepper if not spicy enough. Remove beans from heat and serve in bowls over the rice. Easily frozen or doubled.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Simple Lemon Pork Chop with Cauliflower

Porkchop is also flavorful enough to eat 'naked' alongside vegetables. I added McCormick lemon pepper to this and it was even more delicious.

Serves 1
25 minutes
-small saucepan
Quick and simple

1 large porkchop, with or without bone
1 medium cauliflower

2 tsp. McCormick Lemon Pepper

1. Rinse off the porkchop, then place in small saucepan. Begin cooking over medium heat until both sides are no longer pink ~5 minutes. Don't drain the oil.
2. Wash cauliflower and cut right into the saucepan with a paring knife (make bite-sized pieces).
3. Add in a tsp of Lemon Pepper spice to each of the porkchop and cauliflower, stirring well.
4. Continue cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes. Pork should be completely cooked with crisp-tender cauliflower, slightly browned by the pork grease. Eat warm right out of the pan.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Simple Crispy Chicken (with Zucchini)

When I envisioned this recipe, I thought it would make a nice addition to my 'traveling one-person meal' series. However, I then realized most traveling Celiacs won't have GF flour or olive oil on them, even if the chicken and zucchini are easy to get**. However, this is a super super easy version of 'fried' chicken, with the crunch and tenderness, but without all the grease. Tripled, it would make a quick family dinner (smothered w/rice and sauce) or several chicken patty sandwiches.

Serves 1
20 minutes
-small saucepan
Quick and simple

1 large chicken breast, cut into medium strips -or- 2-3 chicken tenderloins
2-3 tbsp. GF flour (I used sorghum, but rice flour would work)
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder*
1 tsp. parsley flakes*
Shake of: paprika, salt and pepper*
1 medium zucchini squash, halved then sliced
*McCormick spices are GF

1. Rinse off chicken and cut into medium strips, about 2-3 or them. Place chicken in small saucepan, placing them right close to each other. Pour 2 tbsp. flour over chicken, distributing equally, then flip pieces over and make sure each side is fully coated. If not coated enough, sprinkle another tbsp of flour on chicken. Be careful not to leave too much 'loose' flour sitting in the bottom of the saucepan.

2. Pour the olive oil over the 'battered' chicken. Again, be sure to distribute the oil equally over the pieces. There should be enough olive oil added to form a slight puddle around the chicken, even after you turn each piece over to 'coat' the bottom with oil.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with your desired spices. I used plenty of garlic powder and parsley flakes plus a shake of paprika, salt and pepper. Use some cayenne pepper to spice it up a bit, if desired; or add chili powder or cumin if you want a southern flare.
4. Begin cooking chicken over medium heat, turning chicken once or twice. Once the chicken has been cooking for 5 minutes, push them to one side of the pan and add in the sliced zucchini.
5. Wash off your medium zucchini, remove one end, and cut lengthwise down the zucchini to 'half' the veggie (but not all the way). Then cut into slices, letting them drop right into the saucepan (with the chicken) at the chicken's 5 minute mark.
6. Continue cooking, stirring the zucchini and flipping the chicken pieces, for an additional 10-15 minutes (15 to 20 mins, total, for the chicken). The zucchini will become coated with the excess flour/oil/spices. Dinner is complete when chicken is crispy and no longer pink in the middle and zucchini are just crisp-tender.
**I'll still tag this as travel-friendly.. if you remember to pack a small sandwich baggie of spiced flour and a little bottle of oil!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Simple Steak with Broccoli

When traveling, it's a pain to come up with simple meals that don't need extra oil, spices or kitchen equipment. Here's a fast one-person dinner that can be made with just a paring knife and small saucepan, cooked over a travel range. I like to use the fat from the beef to flavor the veggies.

--Hang with me while I still feature easy, minimalistic dishes.. school will soon be out and I plan on spending the summer baking and trying more 'involved' food (I'm dreaming of rum cake, layered brownies and eggplant parmesan)!

Serves 1
20 minutes
-small saucepan
Quick and simple

1 small steak of choice, bone or no bone
1 small head of broccoli
salt and pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder* (if you have some)
1 tsp. dried chives* (if you have some)
*McCormick spices are GF

1. Rinse the raw beef and cut off most of the excess fat, leaving SOME of the fat still intact. Place meat in small saucepan and begin cooking over medium heat. Let cook for about 5 minutes, or until light brown on both sides.
2. Wash the broccoli head and cut off the florets right into the saucepan using a dinner or paring knife (no cutting board!). Season the meat and broccoli with ground pepper and a little salt. Also, sprinkle with garlic powder and dried chives, if you have them.
3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue to cook the meat and veggies for another 10 minutes, being sure to stir the broccoli bits frequently and turn the steak. Your easy dinner is done when the broccoli is very crisp-tender (still with a slight crunch) and the meat is only slightly pink on the inside.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pan-Fried Parsley Potatoes

Another potato side dish.. I've been on a spud kick. These are so fast and easy to make, but the potatoes must be smaller red potatoes and cut super thin ~1/8th inch. I used a mandolin slicer and it worked well (watch your fingers). Eat plain or melt sharp cheddar cheese over these babies.. they are sooo good. Adapted from the Gooseberry Patch Summer(?) cookbook.

Serves 2
25 minutes
-large saucepan or skillet
-sharp knife or mandolin slicer
Quick and simple

3-4 smaller red potatoes (russets are too starchy)
3-4 tbsp. butter or non-dairy butter alternative-- I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
2-4 tbsp. dried parsley flakes*
2-3 tbsp. dried whole thyme leaves* (not powder)
salt and pepper to taste

Cheddar CHEESE for topping
*McCormick spices are GF

1. Wash and thinly cut the red potatoes into 1/8th inch small slices. Don't bother to peel them. Let the slices soak in cold water for 5 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes and place into large saucepan, spreading them out over the whole surface. Begin cooking them over medium heat.
3. Right away, cut the butter into small 'chunks' and place into the pan, mixing in with the potato slices. The butter will spit a little since the potatoes are wet, so be careful. You don't need too much butter (not enough to puddle in the saucepan), but add in more if your spuds are not all glistening with melted butter.
4. Generously shake a tablespoon or two of both the dried parsley and thyme leaves over the potatoes. Stir until well mixed, then add in two MORE tbsp. of spices (keep in mind thyme is stronger than parsley). Like the with the butter, each potato slice should be well coated with thyme and parsley.
5. Let potatoes cook over heat for a total of around 10-12 minutes, turning and mixing the slices carefully, so as to not totally burn the bottom layer. Make sure the top layer get 'rotated' to the bottom. The potatoes are done when they are tender and slightly toasted, as shown above.
6. Remove from heat and season further with salt, pepper or cheese. Mix in cheddar cheese while still hot, so it begins to melt and coat the slices. Would go well with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Asparagus Risotto

Cheesy, creamy, with generous amounts of fresh plump asparagus slices. The pink-ish bits are not ham, but instead sweet red onion, which added enough flavor to not need spices. I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods mozzarella rice shreds to thicken the sauce and it worked out great. Not sure how 'regular' dairy mozzarella would behave (clump?) so I would suggest grated Parmesan.

Serves 2
35 minutes
-large saucepan with tall sides
Quick and simple

1 medium red onion
6-8 fresh asparagus stalks
1/2 c. Aborio rice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 14 oz can of Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth (or GF vegetable broth)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese -OR- Galaxy Nutritional Foods mozzarella rice shreds.. lactose free

1. Chop up red onion into small-ish pieces (not diced). Also wash and slice asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces. Place onion into large saucepan, but set asparagus pieces aside next to range.
2. Add Aborio rice in with onion, then pour olive oil over rice/onion and mix well. Turn on heat to medium-high and begin cooking rice, stirring constantly. Cook rice and onion for 1-2 minutes, just until the rice is mostly translucent with a spot of white still in each grain (might begin to toast a little).
3. Add a fourth of the broth to the saucepan over the rice; turn the heat down to medium. Continue stirring broth for about 2 minutes, or until the rice soaks up most of the liquid.
4. Add the sliced asparagus and more broth to the saucepan; use enough broth so that the asparagus is covered. Let the rice/asparagus/broth bubble and cook, stirring occasionally. Add in a little more broth when necessary, but save a good 1/4th cup for the end. The asparagus will need to cook for around 10 minutes. Taste to make sure the asparagus and rice are tender.
5. On your last addition or broth, quickly pour in the cheese and stir well-- the broth should begin to thicken. Break up any cheese clumps and continue stirring constantly, over the heat, until the broth is mostly absorbed and cheese has melted.
6. Remove from burner and let cook for 2 minutes, while the cheese sauce thickens a little more. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I've been so busy the past week, this was the only thing I cooked. However, it took me awhile to figure out how to make hashbrowns properly, so this simple breakfast (or lunch) side dish is worth writing out. These end up soft in the middle, but crispy on the outside.

Serves 2
15 minutes
-large saucepan or iron skillet

-large cheese or vegetable grater (not small)
-spatula to flip the potatoes
Quick and simple

1 large russet potato, skin on
2 tbsp. peanut or corn oil
salt and ketchup for topping

1. Scrub the potato and coarsely grate (use the large holes) over a medium bowl. Fill bowl with cold water and set the grated potato sit for 5 minutes to remove excess starch.
2. Rinse out soaked potato and spread gratings in a large saucepan. Begin cooking over medium high heat, stirring and re-spreading the potato constantly while the extra water begins to boil off. This should take less than 2 minutes.
3. When the potatoes just begin to stick, quickly add in the oil and stir until well mixed. Spread the potatoes out and let cook on one side for a minute, then flip potatoes in small 'patties' with a spatula and continue cooking until golden and crispy (around 8 minutes total).
4. Let cool for a minute and top with a little salt and ketchup. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lentil Soup

During the previous cold spell, I finally got around to opening the small bag of lentils I bought months ago. I remember as a child this being my favorite soup. It was surreal to make this myself instead of eagerly watching my mother. Earthy, mild and thick. Beware: this recipe will easily serve 8 people, so half accordingly.

Serves 8-10
1 hour
-large large pot or dutch oven, with a lid

2 medium red potatoes
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots, peeled
1 large white onion
2 c. lentils, washed and sorted
1/2 c. brown rice
2 tbsp. olive oil
10 c. water
1 bay leaf*

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Parmesan cheese (for topping)
*McCormick spices are GF; all lentils should be GF-- wash them well

1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes, about 1/4th inch on each side. Peel the carrots, slice, then chop up into small pieces. Cut up the celery and onion likewise into small pieces. Pour veggies into large pot.
2. Spoon lentils out of bag 1/4th cup at a time onto a paper towel or plate. Sort through the dry lentils with your fingers, picking out twigs, pebbles or other foreign material. Rinse shifted lentils, then place into pot with veggies. Continue to sort and rinse until needed volume of lentils is shifted/washed and placed in pot.
3. Measure out brown rice and add in with lentils/veggies. Pour olive oil over all and mix well.
4. Add 10 cups of water to pot along with a bay leaf. [New cooks: be sure to REMOVE the bay leaf before eating.. the leaf is just for flavor while cooking]
5. Heat pot over high heat until lentils come to a rolling boil. Then turn heat all the way down to medium-low and cover with a large lid.
6. Let soup simmer gently for 45 minutes. Uncover and stir well every 10 minutes or so-- the soup will quickly thicken, so make sure the lentils do not start sticking to the bottom of your pot. Turn heat down to low if the lentils begin to stick.
7. Once lentils and potatoes are tender, and the soup is a lovely shade of earthy grey-brown, remove from heat and stir in the 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar. Serve warm, generously topped with Parmesan cheese, alongside a nice slice of GF bread. This tastes even better the next day.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spicy Brown Rice Bowl

Brown rice tossed with sauteed spiced vegetables. I was planning on just cayenne pepper, but then added in a shake of cinnamon and really liked the blend. Another easy vegetarian lunch:

Serves 1 (2 as a side dish)
45 minutes
-medium saucepan
-medium pot with a lid

1/2 c. brown rice, uncooked
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium white or yellow onion
1 small red bell pepper
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash of cinnamon

1. Measure out brown rice and cook according to directions, covered, in a medium pot. It should take around 40 minutes.
2. While the rice is cooking, cut up vegetables. Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces, chop onion into small-ish pieces, and cut red bell pepper into slices, then quarter each slice (these pieces will be larger).
3. Place veggies into medium saucepan with oil and cook over medium heat. Sprinkle vegetables with papper and a little dash of cinnamon. Taste the veggies to make sure they are spicey enough (rice will tone down the heat). Cook for 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender and onion is slightly toasted.
4. When rice is cooked, stir in tender veggies. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Now back to regularly scheduled easy main dishes...
Cheesy. Vegetarian. Fairly quick. Informal. Yes, these are baked, but the filling is made on the range during squash cooking time, so the final product is complete in under an hour. I like these because I can bake up only one half of the squash and save the other for another day. The 'doubled' recipe is printed below.

Serves 2
55 minutes
preheat oven to 400 F
-medium saucepan
-glass or aluminum baking dish (like a cookie sheet, 9 x 13 " pan, or large pie dish)

1 large acorn squash
1 medium white or yellow onion
1 medium head of broccoli
2-3 celery stalks
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese (or use Galaxy Nutritional Foods lactose-free cheddar rice shreds.. they melt incredibly well!!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Again, my squash was a little undercooked at 375 F, but I think my oven runs cold, so the time here may vary.
2. With a sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half, either length-wise, or width-wise (width wise shown in picture). Length-wise should sit better as a 'bowl' but the stem might be harder to cut through. Once halved, scrape out the seeds and gooey strings from the middle of the squash. Discard innards (or save seeds to roast, if you wish). You should be left with a firm, 'hollow' squash.
3. Fill baking dish with some water-- around 1/2 inch deep. Place both squash halves into water, hollow-side down. Bake squash in preheated oven for 45 minutes; cook 15 minutes longer if you desire a very tender squash. Squash is done when a knife inserted easily pierces the outside skin. Watch water level inside your baking dish-- add more if all the water evaporates.
4. While squash is cooking, begin cutting up veggies. Chop onion into small-ish pieces (not diced). Cut broccoli up into bite-sized sections. Wash celery well and cut into thin slices. Place washed/cut veggies besides range and wait until 15 minutes remains for the squash.
5. Once the squash has cooked for 30 minutes, place veggies into medium saucepan with the olive oil and saute over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Cook until the onion is barely translucent and the broccoli is crisp-tender.
6. Remove hot veggies from the heat and immediately stir in the cheddar cheese. Mix well until melted.
7. Pull cooked squash out of the oven and generously spoon veggie/cheese filling into hollow compartments. Serve right away, but be careful... the squash is hot.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Lunch

I was fortunate to spend Easter with Josh and his mother. My own family lives over 9 hours away, so going home for the weekend was out of the question. Lori has always been very understanding of my condition and doesn't mind when I bring a small saucepan and utensils to cook with when I visit. She happened to pick out a brand of ham that was gluten-friendly--Hillshire Farm honey ham.

The meat was extra juicy and flavorful, and best of all, did not make me sick. I posted the recipes for both the green beans and potatoes below. Happy eating.

Sauteed Green Beans

Easy, fresh side-dish with very little effort. I didn't plan this, but the small bits of carrot and bell pepper settled near the bottom of the pan while the larger green beans sit on top. Therefore, the pepper gets wonderfully toasted while the green beans turn out crisp-tender. I didn't serve this with a sauce to cover up the taste of fresh green beans.

Serves 3
25 minutes
-large saucepan
Quick and simple

1 to 2 c. fresh green beans, ends removed
1 medium red bell pepper, cored
2 carrots, peeled
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Wash green beans and remove ends, but don't snap them in half.. leave them long. Wash and core the red bell pepper. Dice the pepper into 1/4th inch squares (not too small). Peel the carrot and cut into small-ish slices, then half (or quarter) each 'disk'.
2. Place veggies into the large saucepan and pour in oil. Begin cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally... you will find the carrot and pepper bits will stay on the bottom of the pan.
3. Saute the veggies until the green beans are barely cooked-- they should be crisp but not tough. It will take about 10-15 minutes. Don't let the carrot and pepper get too badly toasted (they will be fully cooked and begin to brown).
4. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve warm alongside ham, beef, or lamb.

Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I've been trying to get this to come out correctly for awhile now.. either they end up undercooked or too dry and without flavor. These worked well, though. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside (plus packed with spices). These take awhile to cook, but not long at all to prepare.

Serves 2
1 hour
Preheat to 400 F
-4 x4 inch pan

3 medium red potatoes
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. parsley flakes
3 tbsp. olive oil

1. Wash and cut red potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Place the cut potatoes into a bowl of cold water and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Drain potatoes and place into a 4 x 4 inch pan, either glass or disposable Aluminum (for easy clean-up). Generously shake 1 tbsp. of each spice over the potatoes. Tumble and mix with your hands, then cover the potatoes again with another 1 tbsp. of spices. Mix well.
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, then mix and tumble the spiced potatoes with your hands till the taters are well coated. They will be a little greasy.. add in more oil if not fully coated.
4. Bake potatoes, uncovered, in preheated 400 F oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are golden brown (crispy) and fully cooked on the inside. They might need more oil or more cooking time, depending on the potato type used and baking dish.
5. Serve warm alongside meat of choice.. I used ham.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sloppy Joes

Slop-Sloppy Joe, yeah. This one is 100% college (or middle school, however you want to look at it).
Pretty sure I got this recipe from my mother's files. I know most people can buy the canned stuff, but this is very easy and you can spice it up as you wish for a super-quick hot lunch. Easily doubled or tripled to feed a gang of hungry kids.

Serves 2 (3 with a side)
25 minutes
-medium saucepan
Quick and simple

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 medium white onion
3 tsp. chili powder*
2 tsp. garlic powder*
1 tsp. dried celery flakes (or 1/2 tsp. celery salt)*
salt and black pepper
1 tsp. yellow mustard*
dash of Worcestershire sauce*
1/3 c. Heinz ketchup (or other GF brand)
2 hamburger buns-- I used EnerG tapioca buns
corn chips* for serving
* McCormick spices are GF; French's original mustard is GF; Lea and Perrin's Worcestershire sauce is GF; Frito's original corn chips are GF

1. Chop up onions in small-ish pieces. Dice them fine if you want (I prefer larger pieces). Set aside.
2. Begin cooking ground meat over medium heat in the saucepan. Break up large pieces of meat while cooking, but don't pulverize it. Cook for around 5 minutes, then drain out some excess grease if needed (not all of it).
3. When meat is browned, but still juicy, add in the onion. Also shake in the chili powder, garlic powder, celery flakes, salt and pepper-- mix well, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes or until onion becomes barely translucent. Don't burn the meat.
4. Remove meat/onions from stove and add in the mustard, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and then the ketchup. Start out with the 1/3rd cup of ketchup; if the mixture looks too dry, work your way up to 1/2 c. The exact amount will vary depending on how sloppy you want your Joes.
5. Heat up the GF hamburger buns in the microwave for 20 seconds on 'high' (makes them waaay softer). Re-heat meat/ketchup mixture over low heat on the stove to make sure it's still warm, then spoon a generous helping of meat into the buns. Enjoy with a side of pan-fried potatoes or corn chips.